Best Food to Prevent Common Childhood Infections

Best Food to Prevent Common Childhood Infections
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Just a dusting of nutritional yeast worth of beta-glucan fiber a day is put to the test in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial for the prevention of common childhood illnesses.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

In 1989, the late Charles Janeway gave a presentation that was to revolutionize our understanding of the immune system. He proposed that we must have some ancient, innate first-line-of-defense. We knew about vaccinations for centuries—how our bodies can learn from past infections, but he figured that’s not good enough. Our body must have evolved some way to recognize foreign invaders the first time they invade. He proposed that the way our immune cells discriminate between self and non-self—our own cells vs. invading microbes—may arise from pattern-recognition receptors; we’re just born with the ability to “recognize patterns of microbial structure.”

For example, there’s a unique component of fungal cell walls that naturally stimulates our immune system, called beta-glucan. Our own cells don’t produce it, but fungal pathogens, like candida, do. Candida is a type of yeast that can cause serious blood infections, so it’s a good idea our immune system recognizes it right off the bat. So yeah, you could stimulate your immune system injecting candida into your veins—but then, you also might die. Luckily for us, non-disease-causing yeasts, like Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is what baker’s yeast is, and brewer’s yeast, and nutritional yeast, also have that same molecular signature, that beta-glucan. So, the drug industry is all excited about capitalizing on this “powerful immunostimulatory response” to develop new anti-infection, anti-cancer therapies. Yeah, but does it have to be injected into the vein? What happens if you just eat some nutritional yeast?

Our digestive tract is our largest point of contact with the outside world—more surface area exposed than our lungs and skin put together. And so, not surprisingly, most of our immune cells are concentrated along our intestinal wall. But, they don’t just stay there. Once they’re tipped off to what’s happening in the gut, they can go off to defend other parts of the body. That’s why you can give an oral cholera vaccine, for example, and end up with cholera-fighting immune cells in your salivary glands, pumping out antibodies into your saliva to protect against infection.

So, what if we sprinkled some nutritional yeast on our kids’ popcorn for a snack? Might that help marshal defenses throughout their bodies? Adults tend to just get a few colds a year, but “the average schoolchild” can come down with a cold every other month. And, what can we really do about it? Modern medicine has “little to offer for” run-of-the-mill common colds. Nevertheless, doctors still commonly prescribe antibiotics, which can do more harm than good. “Clearly, there is a need for effective, safe, and inexpensive treatment[s].” And, “β-Glucan [may] be just the right solution.” But you don’t know, until you put it to the test.

So, researchers performed “a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial” of about a half-teaspoon of nutritional yeast worth of beta-glucan in children who suffered from like repeated respiratory infections, and after a month, found a significant increase in salivary lysozyme levels, compared to control.  Lysozyme is an important protective immune component of our eyes, nose, and mouth.  But, a larger follow-up study reported the opposite findings—an apparent drop in salivary lysozyme levels. Though the researchers claimed this was “accompanied by pronounced improvements in…general physical health,” no data is given.

But the only reason we cared about the lysozyme levels, though, was because we were hoping it would result in fewer infections. But, that had never been directly studied—until now.

The title kinda gives it away, but basically, a “randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial” was performed to see if just a dusting of nutritional yeast worth of beta-glucan a day could reduce the number of episodes of common childhood illnesses. “During the 12-week course of the study, 85% of children in the placebo group experienced one or more episodes of infectious illness.” Here it is, graphically: 85% got ill in the sugar-pill group, but just taking like an eighth of a teaspoon of nutritional yeast worth of beta glucans, or even just a 16th of a teaspoon’s worth, appeared to cut illness rates in half. And, those on the yeast that did come down with a cold only suffered for about three days, compared to more than like nine days in the placebo group.

The researchers conclude that by giving kids the yeast beta-glucans, we “could decrease the incidence and severity of infectious illness during the cold [and] flu season,” and thereby benefit the parents as well.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Icons created by Alex Tai, Aleksandr Vector, Juan Pablo Bravo, and Agniraj Chatterji from The Noun Project.

Image credit: Amanda Burk. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

In 1989, the late Charles Janeway gave a presentation that was to revolutionize our understanding of the immune system. He proposed that we must have some ancient, innate first-line-of-defense. We knew about vaccinations for centuries—how our bodies can learn from past infections, but he figured that’s not good enough. Our body must have evolved some way to recognize foreign invaders the first time they invade. He proposed that the way our immune cells discriminate between self and non-self—our own cells vs. invading microbes—may arise from pattern-recognition receptors; we’re just born with the ability to “recognize patterns of microbial structure.”

For example, there’s a unique component of fungal cell walls that naturally stimulates our immune system, called beta-glucan. Our own cells don’t produce it, but fungal pathogens, like candida, do. Candida is a type of yeast that can cause serious blood infections, so it’s a good idea our immune system recognizes it right off the bat. So yeah, you could stimulate your immune system injecting candida into your veins—but then, you also might die. Luckily for us, non-disease-causing yeasts, like Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is what baker’s yeast is, and brewer’s yeast, and nutritional yeast, also have that same molecular signature, that beta-glucan. So, the drug industry is all excited about capitalizing on this “powerful immunostimulatory response” to develop new anti-infection, anti-cancer therapies. Yeah, but does it have to be injected into the vein? What happens if you just eat some nutritional yeast?

Our digestive tract is our largest point of contact with the outside world—more surface area exposed than our lungs and skin put together. And so, not surprisingly, most of our immune cells are concentrated along our intestinal wall. But, they don’t just stay there. Once they’re tipped off to what’s happening in the gut, they can go off to defend other parts of the body. That’s why you can give an oral cholera vaccine, for example, and end up with cholera-fighting immune cells in your salivary glands, pumping out antibodies into your saliva to protect against infection.

So, what if we sprinkled some nutritional yeast on our kids’ popcorn for a snack? Might that help marshal defenses throughout their bodies? Adults tend to just get a few colds a year, but “the average schoolchild” can come down with a cold every other month. And, what can we really do about it? Modern medicine has “little to offer for” run-of-the-mill common colds. Nevertheless, doctors still commonly prescribe antibiotics, which can do more harm than good. “Clearly, there is a need for effective, safe, and inexpensive treatment[s].” And, “β-Glucan [may] be just the right solution.” But you don’t know, until you put it to the test.

So, researchers performed “a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial” of about a half-teaspoon of nutritional yeast worth of beta-glucan in children who suffered from like repeated respiratory infections, and after a month, found a significant increase in salivary lysozyme levels, compared to control.  Lysozyme is an important protective immune component of our eyes, nose, and mouth.  But, a larger follow-up study reported the opposite findings—an apparent drop in salivary lysozyme levels. Though the researchers claimed this was “accompanied by pronounced improvements in…general physical health,” no data is given.

But the only reason we cared about the lysozyme levels, though, was because we were hoping it would result in fewer infections. But, that had never been directly studied—until now.

The title kinda gives it away, but basically, a “randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial” was performed to see if just a dusting of nutritional yeast worth of beta-glucan a day could reduce the number of episodes of common childhood illnesses. “During the 12-week course of the study, 85% of children in the placebo group experienced one or more episodes of infectious illness.” Here it is, graphically: 85% got ill in the sugar-pill group, but just taking like an eighth of a teaspoon of nutritional yeast worth of beta glucans, or even just a 16th of a teaspoon’s worth, appeared to cut illness rates in half. And, those on the yeast that did come down with a cold only suffered for about three days, compared to more than like nine days in the placebo group.

The researchers conclude that by giving kids the yeast beta-glucans, we “could decrease the incidence and severity of infectious illness during the cold [and] flu season,” and thereby benefit the parents as well.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Icons created by Alex Tai, Aleksandr Vector, Juan Pablo Bravo, and Agniraj Chatterji from The Noun Project.

Image credit: Amanda Burk. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

Also found beneficial for marathon runners (Preserving Immune Function in Athletes with Nutritional Yeast). Chlorella and wakame may also help boost immunity (Preserving Athlete Immunity with Chlorella and How to Boost Your Immune System with Wakame Seaweed). And so can produce (Using the Produce Aisle to Boost Immune Function)!

There are some folks who should stay away from the stuff, though:

The How Not to Die Cookbook (available for preorder) has a great recipe in it for Nutty Parm—a condiment I like to put on whole grain pasta, salads, sautéed veggies, and more. Now you can get that recipe right here on the site, as one of our sneak peeks into the cookbook (all proceeds I receive to charity, of course). 

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

110 responses to “Best Food to Prevent Common Childhood Infections

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  1. Hey Dr.-

    What’re your thoughts on vegetarian Indian food? Palak Paneer has cottage cheese cubes. Is that something I should stay away from? I thought it’d be a good alternative as Indian food uses a variety of herbs and spices. Curious as to what you think.

    Thanks!

    Tyler




    3
    1. hi Tyler: I cook vegan Indian food frequently, and revise the recipes if necessary to eliminate oils as well. For me, it really has taken wfpb eating to a whole new level. There are several good cookbooks out there, including this one https://www.amazon.com/Vegan-Richas-Indian-Kitchen-Traditional/dp/1941252095 or you can just cruise the net and revamp recipes you find. The BBC food site is one of many that I use. https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/potato_and_pea_curry_19537

      If you would like to explore this site for what Dr Greger has found out about spices, here’s a good spot to start https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/spices/




      11
      1. I just got Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen from the library and I highly recommend that one as well!

        I agree with the above about limiting oils (and added salts) as much as possible, or swapping for (very minimal amounts of) quality extra virgin olive oil instead of sunflower or safflower oil. Have a nice serving of fresh greens (may I recommend organic arugula!) with the dishes you make!




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    2. Hi Tyler – Make those same delicious spiced recipes just minus the dairy and meat and you’ll be doing yourself and your family all kinds of good!




      1
    3. Tyler,

      I personally enjoy indian kitchen and found that plain (white) tofu works quite well instead of cottage cheese cubes. You should stay away from milk and diary. :)

      Hope this helps :-)!

      Moderator Adam P.




      0
  2. The paneer (from milk solds) negates the good effects of spice – so please banish all paneer and malai (cream) laden dishes.

    There are many many other Indian dishes with spinach and other vegetables.




    10
    1. I’ve found Sarson Ka Saag (curried mustard greens) is good with a small fraction of the fat usually added at restaurants. Personally, I use mustard oil sparingly, rather than ghee, when cooking Indian styled dishes.

      While there’s no shortage of whole plant based, or easily adapted, recipes online, The Indian Vegan Kitchen by Madhu Gadia, R.D. and Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen by Richa Hingle are recommended cookbooks.




      4
    2. A whole food alternative to cream and oil is coconut butter (whole coconut processed like peanut butter). It’s not low calorie density, but it is healthy and tastes great.




      5
      1. Joshua – can you take a look at the label and tell us what the saturated fat content is of your coconut butter? I know oil is loaded with it but I’d like to know what the butter facts are. Thanks!




        4
          1. Thanks Susan! I don’t consume either one as well. I was just curious how different the plain oil might be from the butter. Not much as coconut in and of itself is 80% fat, most of which is saturated.
            The American Heart Association finally weighed in on the coconut craze in a paper on fats in general. It recommended against coconut oil and palm oil, both plants, because of their saturated fat content. This paper was released this year, I think in June. One can find it if they are interested.
            http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3106/2




            2
      2. Interesting that you bring that up at this time as only a few hours ago, while making a one pot meal of beans, onion sauteed in olive oil, (small amount of) chicken breast, can of olives, can of hominy, fresh tomatoes, practically every herb and spice in the house… I noticed a box of creamed coconut that has been on my refrigerator door for about the past 7 or 8 years.

        I added that to the pot and really enjoyed the texture and taste it may or may not have added.




        2
          1. Heh, yeah, I knew I would probably get a reaction from that but in the interest of full disclosure, I had to mention it.

            And even though this is the first meat other than herring filets that I have eaten in a few months, I’ve come to the conclusion that I can include a small amount of fowl meat in a large one pot concoction every now and then without doing damage.

            Forgot to mention in my original post that I also added a goodly amount of moringa oleiphera.

            That is, I think if I include enough herbs and spices with the meat I can counteract any insult to my health from the meat and still receive any benefits (protein for instance) including adding to the taste.

            In the instance alluded to above, my one pot concoction is about a gallon of material but only about 2 oz. of chicken breast. This will feed me for about three days, or put another way, the duration of the current cold spell happening here.




            1
            1. Hi, Lonie. Thank you for sharing honestly in the forum.
              In regards to the idea the herbs and spices (or fruits and vegetables) counteracting the effects of the animal derived protein, I posit it may be better for your health to avoid those types of protein sources altogether.
              Along with the volumes of data available here on nutritionfacts.org, there is the information available from Dr Esselstyn. Forks over Knives is a good start.
              As a Nurse Practitioner in a busy cardiology practice in rural Appalachia, I educate my patients regarding the benefits of a whole food plant based diet. The link between animal protein intake and CAD (and cancers) have been well established. Our body’s need for protein is no where near the levels espoused by federal agencies.
              It’s certainly not my intention to “shame” you for food choices. I only want you to know you can get the full benefit of herbs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains by sticking to them.
              With all that in mind, it’s important not to be overly critical of ourselves if/when we make poor dietary choice. The early stages of incorporating this type of food into our lives can be met with “backsliding” and falling back on old food ways.
              I can personally tell you it’s rewarding, and I hope you come to know the benefits personally.




              4
              1. Thank you Jacob for your heartfelt and sage advice. You sound wise beyond your years and your information, though much the same as has been espoused here on NF over the years, still is something that can stand being re-stated over and over again.

                Thank you again for bringing this to my attention. I do have about three more days of food prepared and sitting on the stove, so I will, if you will permit me, finish that before going back to being a pescatarian. That is, eating herring filets as my only “meat” source.

                And I certainly understand your desire to educate.

                I recently (finally) agreed to have a meeting with the nutrition dept at my local VA. They agreed they had learned a lot about nutrition from me after the meeting. ‘-)




                2
                1. Oh, need to explain the reason this one-pot will last three more days after eating from it for one is because I added another can of beans to it this evening extending it from a 3-day pot to a 4 day pot.

                  And, I forgot to mention earlier that I added ground flax seed and some rosemary crackers scrunched up. There’s probably some more stuff in there that I forgot.

                  I never eat the same when I cook one of these up as I just throw in whatever is handy. Should also mention I seldom eat for taste, rather for nutrition… but this particular pot of stuff tastes GREAT!

                  I’ve outdone myself with this one.




                  2
            2. “And even though this is the first meat other than herring filets that I have eaten in a few months, I’ve come to the conclusion that I can include a small amount of fowl meat in a large one pot concoction every now and then without doing damage.”

              I’m suspect it will have some negative impact. Notwithstanding the “damage”, or rather unnecessary death, of the chicken.

              That’s my opinion for full disclosure.




              3
              1. or rather unnecessary death, of the chicken

                I sorta understand your tender feelings against doing the hard things in life… someday we will create meat in a lab on a scale to feed millions and it will in fact be healthy (may even have a human flesh component to make it compatible.)

                But for now, I think we must recognize that the dead chicken would never have existed at all probably, if not to be eaten or lay eggs. And if we suddenly no longer ate chick’n, they don’t make good pets (impossible to train them to poop in one place… when they feel the need they just poop and that includes in their water if they happen to be pointed toward it) so they would just be wandering wild. And of course then you would see them killed unmercifully when lower animals than we hunt them down and eat them.

                Animal on animal crime can be traumatic to watch… just watch Marty Stouffer’s Wild America series and you will see what happens outside a city limit.

                And speaking of city limits… if there is no eating or caging of chickens and not enough coyotes within a city to keep the population down, your chickens will come home to roost… on your home. Yours and your neighbors and everyone else’s roof will stink to high heaven from the droppings.

                And if you think dog catcher is the solution, you ain’t seen nothin’ in the euthanasia dept. until your city has to deal with the capture and putting down of thousands upon thousands of chickens because no one will adopt the stinkin’ mite-covered birds that can fly just enough to make it hard to catch them.

                No. I say we leave the chick’n as food the way it is. Sure we may shorten the lives of a few humans but let’s face it, rush hour traffic is pretty bad and that could help solve that situation.

                Eat mor chikn!




                1
                1. Lonie,

                  Our neighbors had chickens. They were beautiful chickens. I loved it when they came over to our deck and walked around in our yard. They did not stink.

                  And speaking of cruelty in the wild? IMO there’s nothing worse than a massive chicken-raising operation.




                  5
                  1. Liisa, all I can say is “freeing the chicken is a slippery slope” as you will come to understand when you slip on some of their poop when hoards of them come to visit your deck. ‘-)




                    1
                  2. I used to raise chickens for eggs. I also had game hens to keep the bug population down in my yard. I certainly am no fan of massive “chicken farms”. They smell, pollute water ways… etc. But never saw chicken appear to differentiate between “let me hold/pet you” and “you’re about to die”.

                    My family had a slaughterhouse when I was a kid. Pigs, cows, sheep… all no something is wrong when the bolt gun starts firing and the group dwindles one by one. Also, cattle pig slaughter operations smell way worse. Way worse.

                    We live with the reality of animal death for human consumption. I don’t know this to be the forum to hash out who has moral high ground in these matters. However, the physical human benefits of WFPB diet… I think that’s the point of nutritionfacts.
                    Personally, I choose to eat what I eat because I want to be healthy. Not for a ethical or moral reason.




                    2
                    1. Personally, I choose to eat what I eat because I want to be healthy. Not for a ethical or moral reason.

                      Agree with that. Otherwise, I would have my heart torn in two every time I eat a little herring filet. Those poor little things are torn from their habitat by being scooped up in nets.

                      This is similar to what happened to people who become slaves… they are taken from their natural habitat. And unlike the ancestors of slaves in various first world countries around the world, the herring do not benefit from the better conditions they are born into rather than the poor habitats their forebears lived in, because the herring are just eaten and not allowed to bear young.

                      They aren’t raised for food like chickens so they would indeed exist, unlike chickens that wouldn’t exist except for their use as food.

                      I’m surprised no one has spoken up for the existentialism of the poor herring while showing empathy for the chicken whose rationale for existing is only as food… (or to warn us the sky is falling!)




                      2
                2. I started to follow Dr Gerger’s work in Winter 2008. By Jan 2009 I began transitioning from a meat based diet to a whole-food plant-based (WFPB) one. So for nearly 9 years I’d consider myself to be a WFPB eater.

                  It wasn’t until almost exactly 2 years ago that someone on the comments section here posted a video to Gary Yourofsky’s Best Speech Ever. I saved the video and watched it on Jan 15th 2015. I went vegan that day.

                  It’s the best thing I’ve ever done (alongside going WFPB… and marrying my wife… and having my three children… lol) and so I share the following informational pieces with you all to allow you to open your mind (as we all have done [or will do] on this excellent nutritional website) and open your heart, so you can think about all the fellow animals we share this planet with:

                  James Aspey speech: wake up call
                  101 Reasons to Go Vegan – ARFF, James Wildman
                  Carnism by Melanie Joy & a an animated version
                  Modern Warrior: Damien Mander at TEDxSydney (ex special forces)
                  Philip Wollen : Animals Should Be Off The Menu debate

                  And the best vegan documentary Earthlings

                  Thank you Dr Greger for such a great website and resource. I’ve given my family and closest friends a copy of your book and very much look forward to the cookbook :-)




                  6
      3. Joshua, I looked up coconut butter. The nutritional facts can be found here:
        http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/custom/3811690/2
        1 Tbs is 85%fat = 93 calories, 9 grams fat, 8 of which are saturated.
        Here is what the Pritikin Center – your family name – has to say about saturated fat:
        https://www.pritikin.com/your-health/health-benefits/lower-cholesterol/160-qi-read-that-saturated-fat-isnt-so-bad-after-all-what-do-you-thinkq.html
        Here is a quote from the article written by the physician at your family’s-name center: “In hundreds of carefully controlled studies, saturated fat – and trans fat and cholesterol – added to the diet increase LDL cholesterol. The higher our LDL levels, the more plaque – and more heart attacks – we’re likely to have,” sums up Dr. Kenney.

        Here is a link to the Pritikin Center’s list of coconut topics in case anyone wants more info.
        In case anyone is interested . . . .




        7
      4. There are but two products in a WFPB diet that are not suitable for daily consumption because of the saturated fat content…; coconut and cacao beans.
        This includes coconut butter and cacao butter. This includes coconut flakes and chocolate.

        Take away the problematic fats and what you are left with is healthy cacao powder and perhabs something like coconut extract or water.




        0
    1. Hi Lisa,
      Nutritional, brewers and bakers yeast are all some form of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Some alive, some dead. I found it interesting that the yeast to make bread is the same to brew beer. I heard a long time ago that beer was just liquid bread.. I can now see the association.. Love the taste of Nutri Yeast.. Kinda sorta gives foods a umami taste..
      mitch




      4
      1. Brewers yeast tends to be the least expensive, but has a bitter taste probably due to the “bitters” used in brewing beer?

        Another type is XPC which I think derives from a food additive given to farm animals.




        0
    2. A point of clarification.

      The Chinese study ( https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/bakers-yeast-betaglucan-decreases-episodes-of-common-childhood-illness-in-1-to-4-year-old-children-during-cold-season-in-china-2155-9600-1000519.php?aid=74171 ) did not give the children whole bakers yeast/Saccharomyces cerevisiae, but an isolated component, Baker’s yeast β-glucan (BYBG), to three groups, two treatment groups at 35 mg or 75 mg of BYBG per day and a placebo group.

      As the transcript puts it: “85% got ill in the sugar-pill group, but just taking like an eighth of a teaspoon of nutritional yeast WORTH OF beta glucan, or even just a 16th of a teaspoon’s WORTH, appeared to cut illness rates in half. And, those on the yeast that did come down with a cold only suffered for about three days, compared to more than like nine days in the placebo group.” (EMPHASIS added)

      The last sentence actually misrepresents the facts of the study. Instead of reading “And, those on the yeast . . . ” it should more accurately read “And, those on the Baker’s yeast β-glucan . . . ”

      Why does this matter? Might not an eighth teaspoon of yeast work as well as 75 mg of Baker’s yeast β-glucan?

      Maybe, maybe not. For example, the bioavailability of the beta-glucans in yeast powder (especially if live Baker’s yeast rather than nutritional yeast!) might seem much less than for isolated and purified BYBG. I’d expect that getting a similar effect from nutritional yeast might require a lot more than an eight teaspoon to get an effective dose, and even then it might not work, as whole yeast has a lot more in it than beta-glucans, and these might interfere with the effect.

      Until “put to the test”, the assumption that an eighth teaspoons of yeast will have the same effect as 75 mg BYBG remains just that – an assumption.

      Still, after taking into consideration the caveats Dr. Greger provides in his “Is Nutritional Yeast Healthy for Everyone?” video, why not give it a try? I’ve taken nutritional yeast for years, and personally consider it as a super-food.




      14
      1. .
        BREWER’S YEAST– MY UNPAID, ANECDOTAL TESTIMONIAL
        .
        After literal years without brewer’s yeast in my daily diet, I recalled how remarkably balanced, energetic and alert I felt when taking it. So, I decided to try yeast in the diet, once again– but specifically brewer’s yeast, as before.

        Of course, without clear proof that effect had been the yeast, and not some other co-factor, I was aware mine was merely a limited, personal experiment.

        By the second day, after only 24 hours of use, I was pleasantly surprised to find the same energy and alertness returned, and recognizably. After one week, I stopped taking the yeast, but kept the rest of the diet the same, and it took another week for the familiar “normal” level of energy to reappear.

        Next, I reintroduced the yeast, and the “lights came back on” after 24 hours’ use, as before. So, I have stayed with the yeast for the two years since, with no side effects, no illnesses and a new normal level of function.

        Since energy, health and alertness are the primary benefits, I reviewed my former diet to see what I had missed, which might explain at least the energy and nerve function, but nothing was obvious. The effects observed may reflect only my reaching a threshold nutritional level, in which a nameless “good thing” was under-represented in my normal diet.

        * For those tempted to believe this is a dose-dependent effect, I should mention a mild warning– the immediate result of taking too much brewer’s yeast is an upset, “acid” (irritated) stomach lining. My optimal level is about one-half teaspoon of brewer’s yeast, sprinkled on cereal.




        4
        1. I think many people are suffering from mild infections viral/bacterial that are hardly noticeable in daily life which tend to “dumb them down” on a subtle basis. Some foods/supplements like nutr yeast and maybe cats claw…etc can “bump” one above these issues. Rhodiola is also an herb to try…something like ginseng.

          As with anything…you start with a lower dose and watch to see what happens.




          0
        2. For those who decide to supplement with Nutritional Yeast, I recommend choosing a brand processed at lower temperatures, and to at least avoid any of the “toasted” varieties. Cooking foods at high temperatures creates glycotoxins ( https://nutritionfacts.org/video/reducing-glycotoxin-intake-to-prevent-alzheimers/ ) also known as AGEs, that have a wide range of toxic effects aside from the ones Dr. Greger touches on in his video. (see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257625/ )

          For my part, I use Lewis Labs Brewer’s Yeast 100% Pure Yeast Flakes. I chose them after contacting a half dozen companies some years ago, to find out about their processing methods. At the time, this brand used the lowest processing temperatures.

          If you feel curious about the levels of AGEs in foods, check out: Advanced Glycation End Products in Foods and a Practical Guide to Their Reduction in the Diet J Am Diet Assoc. 2010;110:911-916. at https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/065b/64ec0a95e0263f94cc5f9a188409dc1b74c8.pdf

          What sort of a difference can cooking temperatures make?

          In one study, Dr. Vlassara’s group at Mt. Sinai found increased average and maximum lifespan for mice on a lower AGE/less cooked diet. When all of the animals eating the regular AGE diet had died, over 40% still survived of those who ate the lower AGE (50% the AGEs) diet. And the insulin levels of the lower AGE group only increased by 70% from young to old animals (.17 – .29) – less than one third the increase seen in mice eating the regular diet (.16 – .56) – where insulin levels increased 250%.




          2
  3. I was just wondering if other forms of beta glucans would work in a similar way as those found in nutritional yeast ? Oats, barley and other grains, and mushrooms for example are foods I associate with raising immunity.




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    1. Susan – I think Dr. Fuhrman addresses some of this in his book ‘Super Immunity’. It’s been a while since I’ve read it he mentions mushrooms as one of his super immunity ingredients. GBOMBS – greens, berries, onions, mushrooms, .. and I forget the last two. All associated with super immunity. I like your question and I, too, am now curious.




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  4. So the video discusses the effects of nutritional yeast on colds in children; do we think it would also work for adults wanting to avoid colds?




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  5. Be sure to see the Doctor’s Note section above, particularly the third video, Is Nutritional Yeast Healthy for Everyone?

    That’s the contraindication for those with Crohn’s or a hypersensitivity to yeast.




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  6. I’m sending this to may neighbors who have young children!

    This reminds me of results by Andrew Saul, editor of the Orthomolecular newsletter.

    http://orthomolecular.activehosted.com/index.php?action=social&chash=7cbbc409ec990f19c78c75bd1e06f215.74

    In many instances Dr. Saul claimed his kids seldom? if ever had a sick day and they took large amounts of vitamin C daily.

    On another note, I think some childhood immunity is passed on from the mother. For instance, it has been established that resistance to the Spanish flu from back in 1918 has been passed on to the children of those who had the flu and survived.




    3
  7. The screenshot of “Ann Transl Med” at around the 3:44 mark shows the great peer-review that this study had: the last line writes “obtatained” instead of “obtained”.

    I know Dr. Greger says there’s no data to confirm the findings, so what’s the point of citing a low quality study other than building a cherry-picking case?

    BTW, I have nothing against nutritional yeast.




    1
        1. Hope he wasn’t banned… in my opinion he was a high value contributor who caused many useful posts in contradiction to his views.

          Sometimes it takes someone who thinks differently to cause others to re-think their own views.

          Jerry Lewis is a NF.org stimulant.




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          1. Lonie
            Someone i meet for coffee on weekends who also reads this site and reads the comments swears Jerry is on staff at nutritionfacts.org




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            1. Great conspiracy theory!

              Almost as good as my “Red Reddington is actually Liz’s mother rather than her father, and the bones in the suitcase are of the real Red Reddington!”

              ‘-)




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    1. Wheeler – clarify for me as I’m not understanding. Are your criticizing the entirety of that study because there is a typo in a word? is that the criticism?
      . . trying to understand. thx




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  8. This one is easy! My 14-year-old sons love a mixture that we use as a sub for parmesan. No one is fooled by it, but it hits the same umami notes and looks/feels similar. We put it on pasta, potatoes, corn-on-the-cob…

    Recipe is simple: equal parts nutritional yeast and ground almond meal. Then add garlic powder, black pepper, and smoked paprika to taste. I keep it in a shaker jar.




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    1. Jen – I, too, use nutritional yeast for many flavoring options in my WFPB recipes. One of my favorites is to mix the yeast with a very soft and ripe avocado to create a healthy ‘butter’. It has the ummami flavor of butter and actually melts on the hot cob a little bit because of the oils in the avocado. From there you can salt and pepper your corn on the cob and make it TexMex with some chipotle pepper and lime. I also use it in soups and stews if I’m trying to get a little more flavor pop. On individual pizzas, etc.




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    1. Hi Yvan,

      We are currently translating more videos into Mandarin and have started Chinese social media pages. If you would like the direct links to those pages, please send me an email. Thanks!




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  9. I liked the video but it was unclear to me why less nutritional yeast (35 mg) had a greater impact on the reduction of illness than (70 mg). Does this suggest evidence that too much could be less beneficial?




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    1. On the “pet” topic, I have a diabetic cat. I was hoping I could get him off insulin. If anyone out there knows a way, please let me know. He’s on w/d food for cats and deserves to live, being a great cat. I’ve seen Dr. Greger’s videos for diabetes and I’m hopeful, but the vet says, “Diabetes in cats is different.” :( :( :(




      1
      1. Liisa,

        I know nothing about animal diabetes, but if it affects the animal as diabetes affects an individual, ask your vet for any foods, supplements, even medicines (ugh) that may counter inflammation.

        Somewhere on my numerous information stashes on a computer (this one, I think) there is a link to a joint study done by an institution in Spain, U of Barcelona I think, and a well known and respected University in the Eastern U.S. (can’t remember which one) stating that one can live long and well with diabetes if they simply keep down the inflammation.

        My personal experience with the situation is my doctors say I have the markings of diabetes (high a1c and high fasting blood glucose) and want to call me diabetic. I ask them where are the symptoms other than those two? I have great eye sight with no diabetic symptoms, The eyeball has great blood vessel composition, I have “the best ankle pulse I’ve ever tested” as stated by one nurse… heart, lungs, urine test, blood test… everything checks out normal or above normal “for my age” (as if the age number had meaning to me. ‘-)

        But I do take anti-inflammatories. My favorite one is White willow bark. It is the natural medicine that aspirin is based upon but without the dangers of causing an ulcer or other such side effects.

        I don’t know if that would be something an animal could take but I think it might be worthwhile to break open a capsule and sprinkle a little of it on the animal’s food… just enough to give it a test.

        Hope this helps.




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        1. I’ve been thinking that the commercial cat food he’s eating has contained too much fat and that fat has blocked the insulin from getting into his cells. (Reference for people: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/what-causes-insulin-resistance-old/) Yes, eating mice would probably be less fatty and healthier in some regards, but mice are hard to come by in our house since we have three cats and then there are the “bad” things that can come from wild catches–worms and the like…. I put my cat on a good diet and he has lost weight but still needs the insulin. I’d like to get him off of it.




          1
          1. Liisa – I hope you will see this response. I don’t have diabetes information to share with you, but you may be interested in this interesting site I have found regarding cat and dog food:
            http://www.cleanlabelproject.org/product-ratings/pet-food/

            Clean Label Project compares cat and dog food (and baby food) for heavy metals, poisons, etc that food manufacturers don’t test for (or put on the label). You can look up the food you give your cat and it will give you the results of the testing as well as the nutritional value. You can also use this site to compare the value of the food in terms of how much nutrition you’re getting for you dollar. I changed my cats food after comparing various products. I hope you find this interesting and helpful.

            A friend of mine has a diabetic cat and he is now quite old – over 15 years and still very stable. Good luck with your kitty. :-)




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      2. WFPB-Liisa, I’m so sorry! My last cat was diabetic. He wouldn’t eat that w/d recommended food. I then started going to a holistic vet. She believes feels that cats need a certain amount of raw organic meat or poultry, not raw fish though, for the enzymes and amino acids destroyed by heat in canned or bagged products. She also doesn’t approve of dry food because she feels cats need more water than they willingly drink.
        She is strongly opposed to grains and carbs in feline food. Said they would never eat that in the wild, and she hadn’t seen Bobcats cooking over a campfire recently. :) Cats are obligate carnivores.
        I added raw cut up organic chicken to his food and extra water in his food bowl. Gave him insulin shots which he was very cooperative about getting.
        He did live quite a time on that regimen. I hope your cat does well!




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        1. Thanks, Marilyn Kay. I’ve been thinking: he’s an indoor cat also and gets no exercise nor Vitamin D. I have let him outside and he is so slow I can catch him! If he hears a dog bark, he runs, belly down, toward the door to be let back in pronto. I think I need to get him outside, but there are some Asian lilies nearby and I know (from my vet) that they are deadly to cats so I need to get him out but keep him away from those lilies — which is why he needs to be supervised outside. Thank you for replying. Only 3 cats are patients at my big-city vet’s office….




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    2. I have some on order and thanks to reading your regimen I will add some of this to the occasional scrambled eggs I feed as a break from the regular fare of air fried chicken thighs and drumsticks, to my own brood of momma cat and almost grown 3 off spring.




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      1. The above was directed toward Marylin Kay’s post:

        I’ve been putting nutritional yeast on my pet’s food once a day to help with an autoimmune problem. It seems to be helping.




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  10. I eat mushrooms and nutritional yeast everyday and I am loaded with Beta Glucan. As a result, I am no longer sick ever, not even a minor cold or running nose or cough.




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  11. But, WAIT! The study says that they used BAKER’S YEAST – NOT nutritional yeast !!??? Did they use NUTRITIONAL YEAST, as Dr. Greger says?!

    Also, at his talk in San Diego, Dr. Greger repeatedly referred to “egg whites” as one of the “bad animal proteins.” I know that egg yolks are high in saturated fats, but are the proteins in egg yolks somehow preferable to the proteins in egg whites?

    Thanks!

    Linda Hart




    1
    1. Bakers yeast and nutritional yeast (and brewer’s yeast) are both Saccharomyces cerevisiae. They are basically the same thing. Search wikipedia for nutritional yeast.




      0
  12. Had a question about the Cannabis Webinar download. Are there 2 separate downloads? In the email I received today, there is this reference to downloading the Webinar….
    “You can download the recording and a list of all the sources from the webinar here.”

    Later in the email, there is this reference….
    “Digital Download of Cannabis Videos
    We also have all of the cannabis videos compiled into one high quality digital download. You can find the digital download here: http://bit.ly/NFcannabis and use the coupon code XR7MSETF5C4F to access your download for free!”

    Are these two separate downloads/videos?

    thanks
    andy




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  13. What was the number of kids tested in the last study shown? The higher the number of participants (large population study) the more confident I feel with the information. Thanks for the video.




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  14. Here are two questions:
    1. Would nutrional yeast have the same effect for adults?
    2. Does nutritional yeast work the same way to prevent infections if it is cooked..eg added to soups, as opposed to being sprinkled over a salad?

    Lucy.




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    1. Lucy,

      Indeed there are studies on the positive impact of the active ingredient in the yeast, beta glucans on adults….try this one: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07315724.2012.10720441. I have used supplemental concentrates of beta glucans with mixed results for both children and adults not willing to use nutritional yeast.

      It appears that you need to really heat the yeast to very high temperature in a high moisture environment to breakdown the beta glucan…..see page 235 at:https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Robert_Speers2/publication/296811873_Barley_b-glucans_and_their_degradation_during_malting_and_brewing/links/595a4f16458515a5406fc54e/Barley-b-glucans-and-their-degradation-during-malting-and-brewing.pdf

      Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger http://www.CenterofHealth.com




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  15. Hi – Anybody know of a brand of nutritional yeast that does not have added vitamins i.e., is not fortified? I’m trying to find a nutritional yeast without folic acid. I appreciate anyone’s help and thanks in advance. :-)




    0
    1. RBG, I encourage you to investigate Starwest Botanicals “Nutritional Yeast Powder Organic” Item #210205-51. I talked with this company personally and liked what they had to say. However, beware of people re-selling the non-organic as if it’s organic by just slapping a label on it that says “Organic.” I heard a rumor that that was happening. I have no affiliation with this company….

      Liisa




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  16. I do mostly eat vegan but I find it odd that when someone mentions eating a small amount of meat e.g. once per week it’s as though someone slapped an old lady. The populations that live the longest do eat small amounts of animal products 4-5 times per month. I was curious if the reaction health or the moral aspects?




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    1. I’m an old lady and I feel like I have been slapped. No one ever taught us in school about the information in “The China Study.” After I read the information in that book, I determined to go animal-food free as regards my diet. For me it was initially a health reason which evolved into also a moral reason: besides the health reason, our earth is being terribly damaged by the volume of animals required to fulfill people’s need for the so-called flavor of meat. This is not to mention the cruelty to animals.
      For them, it is a holocaust. As to the flavor of meat, it is frequently really the sauces and spices added to meat that give it its flavor. (E.g., try boiling some chicken meat and eating it plain without salt and pepper at the very least.) Yuck! People like it with BBQ sauce, ketchup and mustard, or etc. on it–e.g., plant flavors! How ironic!




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  17. Thank you for the educated response and sharing your story. I agree with the farming practices being awful for the planet and animals. I do feel like small farms or the use of wild game in very small portions will not harm and based on large populations is healthy. I have to disagree that meat does not add flavor to a dish and feel that is a general vegan response, I don’t mean this in a cruel or sarcastic manner rather an honest answer. I do support this site and eating vegan more often than not. I may go two months without meat or I may eat it once per month or eat it 4 times in a month. I think the site has great facts, great people that participate in the forum and good food ideas/information.




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  18. I’ve learned much on NF over time and especially in the past few weeks. Tomatoes for prostate health, saffron for mental health, plus many others that I have adopted into my health regime.

    But I’ve also learned from other sources and I want to share one I’ve just found in my inbox from Orthomolecular Medicine newsletter. Here is the opening from the author:

    MAGNESIUM
    by Carolyn Dean, MD, ND

    (OMNS Nov 9, 2017) Even though I’ve spent the last 20 years focused on one mineral, magnesium, it’s made me a generalist, not a specialist, because magnesium does so much for the body. Most people are deficient in magnesium. So I’ve listed below the top 10 facts and 12 functions associated with magnesium. There are several contraindications to magnesium therapy, but most often withholding it is unwise. Moreover, in magnesium-deficient individuals, high dose vitamin D can cause their magnesium levels to be further depleted. The large number of magnesium deficiency diseases (more than 60) makes it difficult for doctors to diagnose their true cause .[1]

    This is just the tease… the real “fruit and vegetables” (I dare not use “meat and potatoes” here’-) is in the rest of the lengthy treatise; is the outpouring of 20 years of accumulated knowledge.

    After reading this paper I fully agree with her that this is the most important mineral in our body for its role in I believe, 6 of the 8 steps in the Krebs cycle to its role in modifying the role of calcium in our bodies, which the importance of I found most eye-opening.

    For those who enjoy getting scientifically anal, you will find much in this paper to get excited about. For those of us who want science broken down into plain language, we are also well served.

    To be clear and up front for those who distrust almost everyone and are professional skeptics, the following is submitted at the end of the paper:

    It will be obvious from the above that I consider magnesium one of the most important essential nutrients in the body and it should be included in every health treatment protocol. Yet it is often the most deficient and neglected mineral. I urge everyone to read more about magnesium and reconsider your intake of this miraculous mineral.

    (Carolyn Dean, MD, ND has been a member of the editorial board of the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service since its third issue in 2005. She offers voluntary disclosure that she has a commercial interest in ReMag, a brand of liquid magnesium chloride. Dr. Dean is the author of The Magnesium Miracle. Her radio shows are archived at http://www.drcarolyndeanlive.com .)

    The link is here: http://orthomolecular.activehosted.com/index.php?action=social&chash=32bb90e8976aab5298d5da10fe66f21d.76




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  19. So, the Czech researchers from the spa resort found, along with lysozyme, heightened CRP; is that good or bad?

    Although, looking at the studies, the result sections of the abstract actually disagree with the reported data. I wonder what kind of shit can pass through peer review.




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  20. Dr. McG, what food is shown in the picture? A little bit healthy vegetables in a sauce of high saturated fat American cheese on a hyperglycemic white potato? Thanks for looking into this for us.




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  21. So, a question about relative benefits…

    Some time ago, march 25th 2015, Dr. Greger had a video about nutritional yeast, regarding lead content. I think most varieties looked at in the study referenced had too much (nutritionfacts.org/video/nutritional-yeast-to-prevent-the-common-cold/)

    Do the benefits now out-weighing the dangers of the lead contamination of nutritional yeast?

    Where do we sit on the risk-benefit teeter-totter?

    I’m stuck on this one.




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